Statement by Mrs. Janice Miller
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations
to The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
Jamaica congratulates you on your election to the chairmanship of this Committee. We look forward to cooperating with you and the other members of the Bureau in the discharge of your duties.
We are grateful to the Under-Secretary-General of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Jean Marie Guéhenno, for the comprehensive statement he delivered at the commencement of our deliberations.
My delegation also associates itself with the statement delivered earlier by the delegation of Morocco on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement.
The documents provided by the Secretary-General, in particular documents A/59/608 and A/59/591, have provided a useful and informative basis as to the current state of international peacekeeping. As pointed out in document A/59/608, the past year has seen increased demands on peacekeeping and related field operations which in turn, have placed corresponding and unprecedented demands on Member States and the Secretariat, particularly the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). We concur with the observation made that the surge in peacekeeping activities could be regarded positively as it signals the ending of conflict. At the same time, such optimism has to be tempered by the realities of ensuring effective and efficient peacekeeping in sometimes complex situations and including aspects pertaining to both peacekeeping and peace building.
Jamaica believes that all members of the international community with the capacity to do so and in keeping with relevant provisions and obligations of the Charter should be actively involved in peacekeeping. We are of the view that the Secretariat should be provided with the necessary resources to enable it to effectively undertake its tasks. While we understand the demanding challenges being faced by the DPKO in terms of planning, deploying, supporting and managing complex crises and peacekeeping operations, the United Nations should continue to maintain the lead in this process which should not for reasons of expediency or convenience be ‘farmed out’ as it were to other entities.
We support the need for there to be a review of the way the DPKO currently operates in order for it discharge its duties effectively. At the same time, we are concerned with the observation made in paragraph 4 of document A/59/608 which seemingly questions the ability of the United Nations to manage simultaneously a large number of peacekeeping missions. While cognizant of the human and material resources which are involved in the planning of such missions, we would caution against any approach which could convey the view that there was any ‘selectivity’ in the consideration of the deployment of a peacekeeping operation.
Aspects relating to rapid deployment in peacekeeping continue to be an important challenge related as it is to the critical question of reserve forces. In this connection, the proposal for a standing civilian police capacity has been received with interest by my delegation and we appreciate the extensive and useful briefing provided last week by the United Nations Civilian Police Division.
We acknowledge that such a standing capacity could have the benefit of bolstering peacekeeping operations, particularly in cases where there is either a weak or absent police capacity but consider that deployment of such a force should be in close consultation with the Member States involved. We also hope that this concept will allow for the continued participation of police personnel from countries which, to date, can be considered as making modest contributions to civilian police operations.
Jamaica welcomes the proposals made in connection with the training needs for both military and civilian personnel. We commend the Secretariat for its ongoing work on standardizing the training modules. Of interest to my delegation are the training opportunities, including the peacekeeping training publications, which could be provided to potential troop contributing countries and we would wish to receive updated information in this regard.
We are also grateful to the DPKO for the informative briefing sessions conducted for the benefit of Member States here at Headquarters and would advocate that such activities be continued.
The success of any peacekeeping mission should rest on the legacy it leaves behind which ideally should result in a more stable and peaceful state. In our view, aspects of peace building have to be considered along the continuum of peacekeeping. Jamaica has viewed with the interest the proposals made in the High Level Panel Report on Threats, Challenges and Change in respect of peace building and would be in support of a peace building mechanism, under the supervision of either the Economic and Social Council or the General Assembly.
We are also supportive of an integrated approach to peacekeeping involving aspects of peace building and assistance in development. We agree that there needs to be careful planning of such an approach and that at the level of the Secretariat there should be sufficient coordination to allow for backstopping and other functions to operate effectively.
Integrated approaches could also be beneficial to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and the work undertaken in respect of Haiti serves as a case in point. My delegation has stated previously that Haiti needs the consistent, sustained and long-term support of the international community towards ensuring that there is no return to conflict. The work being done by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti in utilizing such an integrated approach to DDR provides a useful basis for promoting peace, stability and development in Haiti.
At the same time, Jamaica is of the view that such an integrated approach should be bolstered by the work of the relevant national authorities which should assist in providing the required security environment to allow for the success of peace building. Additionally, there should be at some point, a review undertaken by the Secretariat as to the effectiveness of the integrated and other approaches in peace building.
The Secretariat has been making commendable progress in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 in respect of women, peace and security, principally in terms of pre-mandate assessments and in the staffing of gender adviser posts. Given the complexities of matters pertaining to gender in a present day environment of gender-based violence, the misconduct of peacekeepers mainly towards women and children and the benefits to be derived from women emerging from post conflict situations in having positive role models, it is essential that the respective gender units be provided with sufficient human and financial resources. There should also be continued collaboration with other entities in the United Nations system on matters relating to gender and the protection of children.
The exercise of peacekeeping involving the mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS issues in peacekeeping missions, cooperation between peacekeeping missions and the sharing of common premises and services are useful. My delegation is grateful for the information provided in respect of best practices and lessons learned and would encourage that continued attention be given to updating the relevant website as necessary. We are also appreciative of the periodic briefings provided by the DPKO on the work of the Department both at Headquarters’ and in the field.
Jamaica congratulates Africa on the role it is playing in peacekeeping which should be seen as complementary to that of the international community in peacekeeping operations. We support the enhancement and development where necessary of African peacekeeping capacity particularly in terms of logistical, material and other support.
My delegation is particularly disturbed at the reports relating to the recent increased instances of sexual misconduct by United Nations peacekeeping personnel. While there are wider issues involved in this disquieting phenomenon including disciplinary matters, investigation and the handling of such issues by both troop and police contributing countries and the Secretariat, there is need to focus also on the prevention aspects of the problem. The ad hoc measures proposed by the Secretariat should be standardized. The piloting of training materials on sexual exploitation and abuse are a useful initiative and should be included as mandatory material in pre-deployment training. Also, wherever possible, the work of the Personnel Conduct Officer should be in tandem with that of the Gender Adviser and other relevant advisers in the field.
Jamaica salutes the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price while serving on peacekeeping missions. In this context, it is important that Member States accede to the relevant international conventions on the safety of United Nations personnel. The constraints being faced by the DPKO in terms of ensuring security for personnel in the field should also be addressed as a matter of urgency. My delegation also appreciates the updates and briefings provided by the DPKO in instances where there have been specific security concerns in relation to certain missions.
In conclusion, allow me to express appreciation to the hardworking staff of the DPKO who are carrying out their duties with diligence and skill and who, through the proposal of innovative strategies, strive to surmount the immense difficulties and challenges faced by United Nations peacekeeping.